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In this photo, a group of important people involved in the Manhattan Project can be seen at an award ceremony in 1945. The description says

Presentation of Army-Navy E Award at Fuller Lodge, Los Alamos, NM. J Robert Oppenheimer is at left. Colonel Nichols, commander of the MED is in the center, wearing glasses. To the right is Major General Leslie Groves, commander of the Manhattan Project; Robert Gordon Sproul, the President of the University of California; and Commodore W. S. Parsons

The fourth man on the left is strikingly similar to Robert McNamara, among other things Secretary of Defense of the USA, although to an older McNamara, he was only 29 at the time.

Is that possible? Is it only a resemblance?

  • 8
    The title is either assuming that the award ceremony in the photo took place at Los Alamos (which it may not have done), or is asking a completely different question to the rest of what you've written.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented May 12, 2020 at 10:21
  • 2
    What is the source of the photo?
    – MCW
    Commented May 12, 2020 at 10:23
  • 3
    Google search provides this with a partial list of those present. Additional information found in Wikipedia. The point being that referencing an image without credit is both plagiarism, and makes it very difficult to do history.
    – MCW
    Commented May 12, 2020 at 10:25
  • 1
    @MarkC.Wallace I believe that's where OP got the image from. The question originally included a link to that exact page (but in English), but not the image itself.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented May 12, 2020 at 10:26
  • McNamara was close to LeMay. Was LeMay at the event? Commented May 12, 2020 at 13:48

1 Answer 1


You mean the shorter man in civilian clothes, who is not saluting? If so, probably not Robert McNamara who at the time was a serving officer and would have been in uniform. And, whose job at the time had nothing to do with Los Alamos, and at the time was not famous or important enough to be at such an occasion.

It's just a resemblance.

This is a photo of the Army-Navy "E" award ceremony at Los Alamos on 16 October 1945, the last day of Robert Oppenheimer's tenure as director. The event was filmed; see also. The tall civilian to the left of the flag pole is Robert Sproul (the then president of U.C. Berkeley), the tall man at the extreme left is Robert Oppenheimer. It is clear from the film that there are two rows of seats on the podium, and that the subject of this question is seated at the last chair of the second row of seats, at a moment when Oppenheimer has removed his hat during a salute, when everyone is standing.

I had thought that it might be Harley Wilhelm, whose parted hair looks a bit like your subject's, and whose age seems closer to the mark, but his award was made on 12 October in Iowa. Maybe its Norris Bradbury, who became the second director the following day. Norris had left active duty in the Navy to be able to take this post. In the film one can see the subject receiving a handshake from William Parsons, the naval officer just to the right of the flag pole just minutes before Oppenheimer received a diploma from Groves.

  • That individual in civilian clothes doesn't even resemble McNamara, in my opinion, certainly not as he looked as a relatively young man of approximately 30 in 1945. Commented May 12, 2020 at 22:53
  • @CodyGray I agree, but was not sure the original poster would. Commented May 12, 2020 at 22:56

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